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Dear friends,

finally the day has come to upload my graduation short on the internet. After touring film festivals all over the world Snickers has returned home and decided to go online.

It’s been about 2 years now since I’ve finished the film, to wrap up my animation studies in Genk, Belgium, and I’m still very fulfilled and happy about the film. I can’t really put into words the ups and downs I went through during that year, but it was completely worth it in the end. Seeing how people all over the world enjoy this little film is just such a great feeling…

So here it is:

Here’s the list of all the film festivals it has been selected:

Giffoni Film Festival 2011 (Italy), Chicago International Children’s Film Festival 2011 (USA), BAMkids Film Festival 2012, New York (USA) TIFF Kids 2012, Toronto (Canada), Festival Int. de cinéma jeunesse de Rimouski 2011 (Canada), 13th Seoul International Youth Film Festival 2011 (S-Korea), Little Big Shots 2012 (Australia), Short for Kids – Verona Film Festival 2012 (Italy), 8th InDPanda International Short Film Festival 2012 (Hong Kong), Int. Children’s Media Center 2012 (USA), 2nd annual Tumbleweeds Film Festival for Children and Youth 2012, Salt Lake City (USA), Traverse City Film Festival 2012 (USA), newportFILM 2012 (USA), 28ieme Festival Du Cinéma Européen 2012, Lille (France), 17° Festival Internacional de Cine para Niños 2012 (Mexico), The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival 2012, Massachusetts (USA), Singapore International Children’s Film Festival 2012 (Singapore), Arty Pants, at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (USA), Int. Art Film Festival for Children in Colombia 2011 (Colombia), Filmlabfestival 2012 (Italy), 34th Int. Children’s Film Festival LUCAS 2011 (Germany), Kaliber35 Munich Int. Short Film Festival 2011 (Germany), 19th Filmfest Hamburg 2011 (Germany), Peterborough Int. Film Festvial 2013 (Canada), Curtocircuito Santiago de Compostela ISFF 2011 (Spain), El Meu Primer Festival 2012 (Spain), Int. Film Festival Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France), International Short Film Festival Lille 2012 (France), La Fête d’Animation Lille 2012 (France), Emmentaler Filmtage 2010 (Switserland), Cinekid 2012 (The Netherlands), MCM Filmfest 2011 (The Netherlands), Anima 2011 (Belgium), Film Festival Oostende 2011 (Belgium), Int. Short Film Festival Leuven 2010 (Belgium), 14th Brussels Short Film Festival 2011 (Belgium), Ciné Privé 2011 (Belgium) Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 (Belgium)

Here’s the prize list:

VAF Wildcard for Animation 2010 (Belgium), Winner Canvas prize Animation 2010 (Belgium), Winner Best Animated Short for kids, Int. Youth Film Fest. Rimouski 2011 (Canada), Winner Best Animated Short for kids, Int. Film Fest. Ciné-Jeune de l’Aisne 2011 (France) Winner Zebracinema-prize 2010 (Belgium)

At the moment I am directing in Ghent full time for my new short, in the studio and with the awesome team of Creative Conspiracy and produced by Vivi Film (Les Triplettes de Belleville, The Secret of Kells, …). Much more on that in the upcoming post!

Enjoy!

Wouter

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Hi there friends,

some more news.

Wanted to let you know I’ll be participating in a debate at the upcoming Film Festival of Ghent: http://www.cinevox.be/nl/talent-van-eigen-bodem-op-eigen-bodem/ Friday morning the 14th of October, in the Kinepolis in Gent. Reservations are already closed, but I’d thought I’d let you know anyway.. It will be a talk about wether or not it’s a good thing to stay in Belgium as a filmmaker, or if the Holy Grail is found abroad, in the States for example. Big guest is the Belgian director Frédéric Du Chau, director of Racing Stripes and Underdog. He has made the move to the States more than a decade ago. As always, I feel very honored to be invited at a debate with such a group of talented, experienced people..

Also, Mouse for sale has been released on DVD, on this year’s ”Selected Shorts 13: The Best Flemish Short Flims”: http://www.selectedshorts.com/product_info.php?products_id=93&osCsid=6fcfc16a3270a5d3b044d0de You can buy the DVD in most stores that sell films, for 15euros. It’s really a bargain, because you get almost 3,5 hours of Flemish short films (11 live-actions shorts, 2 animated shorts) in return. Lot’s of them have won prizes at international film festivals. It’s really fun to see how all these directors have got their own characteristic approach to film making.

It’s only now that I have really started watching a lot of live-action shorts. Makes me very excited. It’s great to see how the film makers experiment making these shorts. That’s the big advantage over feature film for me: you have got a lot more room for experimentation, not having to deal with huge budgets and box office results. I’m planning on watching the past Selected Shorts DVD’s as well, trying to learn more from my live-action director colleges.

That’s it for now. Working hard every day on the preproduction and designs of my new film and the weekly Groenland animations.

Peace!
Wouter

Hi friends,

last week was an amazing week: I won the VAF Wildcard for animation and got the 2nd prize in the animation competition with Mouse for sale, at the International Short Film Festival in Leuven, Belgium.

The VAF Wildcard means that the Flemish Audiovisual Fund grants me a scholarship to make a new short. It has to be minimum 5 minutes long and the deadline is 31 December 2012. 2 fiction filmmakers, 2 documentary filmmakers and myself as an animation filmmaker all won this scholarship. Here is more info: click here.

It is absolutely surreal to be awarded this prize… The fact that I get this amazing chance to make a new short is crazy. The great thing is that I can choose how to spend the budget on the production, which people to work with and have complete ownership of the film from a creative standpoint. Still can’t fully believe it actually.

I never thought my little simple film would have so much of an impact. I feel so blessed with people coming towards me every day, telling me how much they enjoyed the short. It’s so rewarding seeing so many people enjoying the film.

Here’s a short video registration of the last evening at the International Short Film Festival in Leuven. My part is somewhere near the end, if you would be interested.

Congrats to all the VAF Wildcard winners!

Hey guys,

got some great news. The main Belgian short film site Kortfilm.be, that gives a review of every short film (student and pro) that enters a big festival, gave me a really really good review. Did not expect this. They gave me 3 out of 4 stars.

For the review on their site, click here.

And finally there is a short interview thing that I was allowed to do, giving a kind of preview/taste of my short. This is for the site Kortfilm.be and will also be shown in the upcoming Belgian filmfestivals.

Click here to see it.

Hey guys,

here’s an update on the filmfestivals ”Mouse for sale” is selected for so far. More festivals will let me know if they have selected my film, in the upcoming months. I’ll let you know then.

Cheers!

Wouter

*WINNER VAF Wildcards Animation 2010*

>  4-11 december, Leuven (2nd Prize Flemish Animation Competition + Winner Wildcard see above)

Het Grote Ongeduld! 2010 > 17 november, Brussels  (Winner Canvasprize)

Hi friends,

I gave a workshop in Genk today, about the basics of 3D animation. The cultural center of Genk has moved to a new location, right next to the old mines. They renovated the old minebuildings as well, such an amazing atmosphere.. For the opening of this new cultural centre they organised a lot of workshops. They asked me to give one dealing with 3D animation.

I really enjoyed giving the workshop. First I went over the basics of 3D animation, every time illustrating the particular phase with my own film (= ”Mouse for sale”). Then we did some basic modeling and animation. It really surprised me how fast they got the hang of it all.

It was really fun sharing all this ”knowlegde” with these nice people. It was great seeing them experience how fun it is to make a ball bounce in 3D, or model a simple truck.

Hope to do this again in the future.

Peace, Wouter

Hi friends,

I’m enjoying my holiday very very much. Went away for a while and now I’m focusing on sending my film to all the interesting shortfilm festivals.

I’m not in a very talkative mood at the moment, so I’ll just let the pictures below do the talking.

PS: My film is being shown all summer long (july and august) in the Euroscoop in Genk, Belgium, every thrusday and sunday right before the ”Projector cinema” film. Special thanks to Kristof Reulens and Eddie Guldolf for that! Here is the movie line-up for Projector cinema this summer: http://www.projectorcinema.be/

And I won the ”Zebracinema” prize with my short Mouse for sale. My short will be screened in front of the Zebracinema film in 8 theatres all over Limburg, Belgium, for a week. Here is the program for Zebracinema: http://www.zebracinema.be/programma I will also be part of a discussionpanel for an animationevening special at Z33 in Hasselt. Details will follow.

Taking a break from animating, with a coffee of course.

Modeling the head of one of the kids. It wasn’t easy to make a simple yet appealing design.

Rough storyboardbrainstorming at a café.

Snickers listening to some music.

My buddy Garif Telzhanov hitting the strings at the recording of the music for the movie.

Anton Walgrave overseeing the recording at recording studio Sugar Beat (Tienen, Belgium).

All the bandmembers taking a break from recording, left to right: Johan Ruyters, Olivier Wery, Graif Telzhanov and Yoan Fernandez.

My man Olivier Wery, the composer of the music and drummer of the band, thinking things over.

The filmmusic written by Mister Wery.

The band and I, at the end of a long day of recording.

Mixing the sound (foley, music, ambiance) with my superstephbrother Bert Lenaerts.

One of the several after-work hours soundmixing with Bert.

A screenshot from a 3D scene of the movie.

The kid gone bad for no apparent reason.

A funny coincidence during the compositing of the final renders: a parallel universe.

The 5 computers at school that I used for rendering. Total amount of rendering was about 1000 hours.

Screenshot of the movie: another kid, Alfred, enters the petshop..

Mouse for sale: Snickers has got an idea.

Mouse for sale: peanut!

Mouse for sale: Alfred and Snickers.

My little girl, me and my big nose on a holiday in France. Love this picture.

bye

W

Hi there friends,

it’s officially vacation, but I still got enough stuff to do: doing job interviews in animationstudios, burning about 200 DVDs, organising a party and even doing interviews for a newspaper!

I got nominated for a competition between all the artschools in Limburg (=the province I live in in Belgium), as one as ”the 10 best artstudents of Limburg”. It’s called ”de Wanatoeprijs”.

What’s kind of annoying is that I can’t put my film online yet, as long as the filmfestivals I am going to participate in aren’t done. Some of them demand that your film isn’t online yet. That’s why it’s not up here yet.

But if you would still like to vote for me, visit http://www.hbvl.be/wanatoeprijs and click on the blue rectangle that says ”Vul de poll in en win!”.

I’ll be uploading some cool behind the scenes stuff, stay tuned..

Wouter and Snickers

ps: here’s the interview for the newspaper. The title says ”I won’t stop untill I work at Pixar”. I was kind of kidding, but I still meant it a bit.. :)

And here’s a little co-op of my ever-so-supporting cousin Titou and myself. He took the picture, I did the 3D. It’s for my BBQ invitiation.

Hey everyone,

it’s all over!! The film is made, after MORE THAN A YEAR!

We had a jury with 4 external jurymembers, this friday the 18th of june.

(These are my supercool classmates, from left to right: Eser Unal, Annelies Vandebosch, Rik Nauwelaerts, Nele Van Hoof, and myself Wouter Bongaerts.)

It seemed like the jury was really impressed by my movie: ”The designs of the characters are absolutely beautiful, your story is really strong and funny, your animation is amazing, your use of colour is superbe, the whole of the sound fits your film perfectly, … You are ready to go direct a professional animated short. You really surprised me, Wouter. As soon as we need someone at the studio, I’m coming straight to you.” – said the 3D specialist of the jury, Toon Roebben, who was a boss of mine at one of my internshipstudios.

It’s all a bit unreal, to get this respect of people that I respect SO much. Yesterday I was walking home with some nice music on, and I just started crying of happiness.

Making this movie was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I was really depressed the first couple of months, when I was writing the script and storyboarding the film. I had so so so much worries. About all the technical and creative problems that were going to come my way. About the script that had a ton of problems. This year was one big meditation excercise, trying to stay calm every day, to not panic, and just try to focus on the thing you are doing RIGHT NOW.

If it wasn’t for my incredible girlfriend, Lore, I don’t know if I would have been able to keep pushing on and deal with all the problems. She taught me that you can fix ANYTHING. And she’s so right about that..

At the same time making this film has been the most beautiful and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life. In more than a year I have made an animated short that actually consist entirely of my imagination. I am able now to give people an experience of 4minutes and 9seconds, of the world of my fantasy, that has always been in my head, until now.

The joy to see people laugh and smile with my film is one of the most beautiful things I have ever experienced. This film is my little baby and I have tried to put so much of myself and my heart in it. When people then really enjoy the movie and love it, that makes me feel so incredibly good. Because of the fact that this movie is a actually a reflection of my inside. I just feel so blessed with this all.

I have to go now, but a LOT more posts will follow, with behind the scenes pictures and information and lots more.

My film won’t be online for another couple of months, cus I am going to participate at as much filmfestivals possible. And for that, your film can’t be online yet. But if you want to get yourself a special edition deluxe superduper DVD of Mouse for sale: mail me!!

WOUTERBONGAERTS@GMAIL.COM

Peace everyone! See you later

Wouter

Ps: begin september I am giving a 3D animation workshop, in Genk, Belgium. Here’s a picture for the promotion.

I’m almost there you guys.

Final deadline is 18th of june. (I turn 24 the 17th of june..)

Way more updates will follow afterwards.

Bye!

Working day and night to get the film finished 0n time.

All year long I’ve been very worried about this period, because I knew it was going to be crazy. But now that I am actually there, it’s quite alright. I am working real hard, but all the decision making and thinking has already been done all the months before. Now it’s executing everything until it’s done. I find that this costs less energy, because I don’t need to constantly be thinking things over while working. You just do what you’ve been planning for months and finally get feedback on the decisions you made back then. It’s actually one of the most fulfulling periodes so far.

You can see Snickers standing on guard.

We’re almost there buddy..

Dear friends,

I am very very excited to finally be able to show you guys some of the first final images of Mouse for sale.

There are always things that I want to enhance, but I still got like a 1,5 minute to animate, got to render everything, got to do the music, got to do the soundeffects, got to mix the sound, go to find extra voice talent and record it, got to make the filmcredits, got to do the final compositing of all the images. The list goes on and on and on. So I got to prioritise. It kinda haunts me every moment of every day. Gotta love animation…

This feels like one big meditation exercise. (To give you an idea: just animation-wise, I can do like +-6seconds of animation a day. That’s still just a small part of everything on the list and I got less than a month left. You do the math, cus I’m too afraid to.. Haha..)

The first image is of shot 4 of the film, the second one comes from the openingsshot.

I can’t really express how intense this all feels to me, but it is intense. Very very much so. I think it’s the biggest thing I have ever done in my life. I’ve been working on this film for more than a year already, so I’d rather die than quit. But I really really want to sleep right now though.. lol

peace out mateys

Wouter

Some days weeks are easy, some days weeks are hard. This time it’s the second one.

Freaking headache and dizzyness..

But we’ll get it done somehow.

Time to sleep now though..

Hi there,

I was working and realised you guys haven’t seen any of the kids or the other animals from my short yet. So I decided to grant you a peek at one of the kids of the movie.

Can’t wait to show you the whole thing soon..

Peace   W

Heyo people,

here’s something I’ve been meaning to upload for a while.

So last summer, I decided to shave off all my hair, due to several frustrations at the time.. Two days later, I got a phonecall from our city hall that they’d like to do an interview with me. Including photo..

It just might be the most ugly picture ever taken of me. So I guess it’s worth to publish it, haha..

I’ll translate it and give some more explanations later.

Now I’m just animating as hard and as much as I can. Every day, all day.   It’s gonna be crazy to get this film done on time, but I’m absolutely stoked about the results. The music that is being made is also incredible.

No time to lose, gotta go.

Later! W

Hi there readers,

another update here.

I’m finally able to start animating on the film. By animating I mean making all the characters move.

This is the part I like the most. It’s where your characters really start to live on their own and where your movie is really starting to take shape. In short, it’s where the magic happens and where the juices really start flowing. (That’s my opinion at least.)

I always get very excited when I can animate. For me it’s like the reward for all your preliminary thinking, desinging and programming. The whole story has already been thought through, all the shots and compositions have been carefully chosen, all the technical stuff like modeling and rigging has been done. So now you can just completely focus on the acting without worrying too much about the bigger picture. Because you’ve already been figuring that out for the last 9 months.

The animating part is the thing I feel I am the most passionate about and it’s what I’d really like to be doing as a job. It’s the thing I like doing the most.

I’m going to stop here cus I’ve got a migraine headache.. That’s what you get for getting too excited, haha..

The deadline for the film is mid-june. I feel like the challenge for me isn’t really to figure out how to make this movie, because I’ve learned how to do that last year. The challenge is much more dealing with the stress and resposibility, because you’re all on your own making this film. The stamina for me is the biggest challenge.

Anyway, I better just go to bed and turn off the computer. Won’t be working today.

Here’s a peek into the animation process..

And the coverimage for the productiondossier of the film.

Hi friends,

overall, my short is coming along good. The preproduction is practically done.

The animatic is almost final. The animatic is a ”rough form of the movie”, made by putting the scanned storyboards in a kind of slideshow. This way you can start working with the timing of each shot and can start adding sound to it. It’s also when the movie is really taking shape and starting to tell it’s own story. Example of Pixar’s The Incredibles HERE.

Even though my script of the story was ”final” before going into the animatic, during the making of the animatic storylines changed almost every day. Things turned out not to be as clear as i hoped. Or there was simply too little happening, or at other moments, too much happening.

I’ll tell you this, it ain’t easy. I find  it hard to deal with the uncertainty of every step. One day you really really really think that you hit the bull’s eye (storytelling wise). The next day you show it to someone and they completely can’t read the story.. (Which is totally my fault, not the viewer’s fault. It’s my job to make it clear and readable.)

But I guess that’s all part of the adventure and the beauty of filmmaking. Sometimes it feels like you’re in the middle of the desert with no water in sight. That sucks. But it sure is awesome when you hit the sweet spot and find an oasis..

So after the 8 story versions of the film,  I have reached animatic version 7.3 … And I think this really really really is IT!    ;-)

A little teaser: a piece of concept art i made, to visualise the mouse’s view of the petshop that he is in.

And here’s me working on the animatic. Snickers (the rascal next to my screen) always keeps me company while working.. =)

Happy holidays everybody!!

Wouter

Hellew visitors,

just wanted to keep you guys up to date. I started storyboarding  my animated short (= drawing and organising all the cameraviews of the movie). The script is almost final, or so it feels.

Don’t let the calmness of this picture deceive you in thinking i find this all fun and play.. =)

blog_storyboarding

Dear friends, meet Snickers.

As most of you guys already know: this mouse is the little hero in my upcoming animated short, due june 2010.

This is an early animation test to see if the rig (=kind of the skeleton of the 3D model) is working ok and to explore his personality.

Next up: texturing this rascal. (This is the reference.)

Production has started.

3D model of Snickers is made. Ready for it’s first check-up with the studioguys. Especially to check if it’s all clean for rigging and texturing. (Done in 3Ds Max.)

And the second piece is the (last) concept art I made, to visualise the textures on Snickers. (Painted in Photoshop.)

blog_snickersmodel_sss

blog_snickerstextures_concept

wallysketches?

Welcome to the blog of the Belgian animator called Wouter 'Wally' Bongaerts. This is where he puts his sketches, photo's and works in progress. It's kept simple for your pleasure. Feel free to roam around or contact him at wouterbongaerts@gmail.com!

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